Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Policing, Culture and Community: Building Trust Through Arts Collaboration

Our research explores the potentials and challenges afforded by arts and culture in the context of a widespread crisis in police legitimacy and in light of the damaged relationships between police and some communities.

We approach this object of study through two lenses: firstly, we look at the opportunities arts-based interventions might offer as a medium for police-community engagement. Here we consider the ways in which creative initiatives can offer a democratising space in which mutual perceptions can begin to shift, and we explore the complexities and challenges of these endeavours. And secondly, we explore the possibilities afforded by the arts for effecting broader change in police practice.  

Our full report into arts-based police-community engagement at Coventry City of Culture 2021 is now available.Link opens in a new window

In 2023 we collaborated with the Belgrade Theatre to produce a performance piece - After Preston - based on the findings from our research around young people’s experiences of policing in Coventry. Preceded by workshops with young people in schools and at the Belgrade, the play was performed on 1st December 2023 to an audience of young people, police, arts practitioners, probation officers and academics. The audience discussion and feedback on the themes raised in the play informs our work going forward.

We are continuing our collaboration with the Belgrade Theatre into 2024, working closely with young people and schools, using arts-led approaches to explore young people's perspectives on criminal justice and policing, and their vision for a fairer future.

We have also carried out an evaluation of an outreach programme led by WMP and Ernst and Young for young people at risk of school exclusion and/or involvement in criminal activity, and we are constructing an empathetic story-telling initiative in which a group of young people share their experiences of policing with frontline officers.

For more information, follow the links below.

This project is led by:

Professor Jacqueline HodgsonLink opens in a new window is Professor of Law and co-director of COPRLink opens in a new window at the University of Warwick. Her work focuses on how the criminal justice process operates in practice in the UK and Europe.

Dr Rachel LewisLink opens in a new window is a Teaching Fellow in the Sociology Department at Warwick University. She works at the intersections between Law, Sociology, and Applied Linguistics, and focuses on issues around bordering, anxiety, and punishment in the contemporary UK.

Follow us: @PoliceartsLink opens in a new window